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Wind energy regulations approved

Costello said the proposed amendments are based on small wind energy system regulations in other counties throughout the state and region. "They take into account current standards that are pretty much nationwide," he said. "It's nice to consider the rights of the person who wants to put up a wind tower, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the neighbors."

Albany County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday updated its small wind energy systems regulations.

The commissioners approved amendments to their small wind energy systems regulations that will change the height, setback distance and noise requirements for noncommercial wind turbines.

Ken Costello, a Centennial resident who helped propose the amendments to the Albany County Planning and Zoning Commission last year, said changes are needed because the current regulations are outdated.

"We made some proposed changes ... based on, I think, some unanticipated situations that didn't cross the minds of the people who originally drafted these," he said. "I think the original regulations were made back in the infancy of residential wind power."

Costello said the proposed amendments are based on small wind energy system regulations in other counties throughout the state and region.

"They take into account current standards that are pretty much nationwide," he said. "It's nice to consider the rights of the person who wants to put up a wind tower, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the neighbors."

The amendments will modify the definition of tower height to include the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Albany County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday updated its small wind energy systems regulations.

The commissioners approved amendments to their small wind energy systems regulations that will change the height, setback distance and noise requirements for noncommercial wind turbines.

Ken Costello, a Centennial resident who helped propose the amendments to the Albany County Planning and Zoning Commission last year, said changes are needed because the current regulations are outdated.

"We made some proposed changes ... based on, I think, some unanticipated situations that didn't cross the minds of the people who originally drafted these," he said. "I think the original regulations were made back in the infancy of residential wind power."

Costello said the proposed amendments are based on small wind energy system regulations in other counties throughout the state and region.

"They take into account current standards that are pretty much nationwide," he said. "It's nice to consider the rights of the person who wants to put up a wind tower, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the neighbors."

The amendments will modify the definition of tower height to include the blades and generator in addition to the tower.

The current regulations exclude the blades and generator in determining a turbine's height.

The amendments also change the maximum height allowed from 50 feet to 100 feet.

The setback standards will be changed from 200 feet from a residential structure to the greater of either 150 feet or three times the tower's height from the property line.

"It's a variable thing," Costello said.

"The setback grows as the size of the tower grows."

Costello said the current setback standards create problems for landowners who want to build structures on their property but can't because another landowner's wind turbine is less than 200 feet from their proposed development site.

"Albany County's regulations don't anticipate unbuilt lots," he said. "(The amendments) preserve the rights of a person with an unbuilt lot."

The amendments also will change the noise standards from 60 decibels adjusted (dBA) at the nearest dwelling to 55 dBA at the property line.

In addition, the amendments will allow the county planning office to waive any of the provisions of the small wind energy systems regulations if the applicant is using a new technology that alleviates the issues addressed by the regulations.

County Planner David Gertsch said the planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the proposed amendments.

However, Gertsch told the commissioners he was concerned with the amendment to the setback standards.

"This will have two impacts on the people that want to do wind energy systems," he said.

"First, it will exclude most property owners with less than 2-3 acres. The second thing will be it will place limitations on the property the wind turbine can be sited."

Gertsch also said the amendments do not include a regulation the commissioners approved in March 2010 that provides a waiver to the setback standards if adjacent landowners agree to the waiver.

He asked the commissioners to include the waiver in the proposed amendments, even though the planning and zoning commission did not recommend it.

After a short discussion, the commissioners agreed to include the setback standards wavier with the amendments.


Source: http://www.laramieboomerang...

OCT 5 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/32111-wind-energy-regulations-approved
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